Dolphins Trade Candidate a Good Fit Next to Falcons’ Kyle Pitts

Kyle Pitts

Getty Kyle Pitts would be even better if the Falcons paired him with one Dolphins trade candidate.

Kyle Pitts’ path to greatness with the Atlanta Falcons won’t stop with his record-breaking rookie season in 2021. Not based on how much the dynamic, move tight end has been wowing audiences during preseason this year.

Pitts is the premium weapon in the Falcons’ passing game, even after the arrival of eighth-overall pick, wide receiver Drake London. What will help Pitts continue to dominate is playing for head coach Arthur Smith, a former offensive coordinator who isn’t afraid to move his best player away from the traditional tight end alignment, split him out wide and take advantage of his wideout-type skills.

There’s no danger of Pitts slowing down in his second season, but how much more effective would the Falcons be if they had another weapon just like him? That’s a question worth asking since one tight end with similar skills could be available for trade, a player who caught 73 passes last season and has averaged over 11 yards per reception for his career.

This is a tight end currently franchise tagged by the Miami Dolphins, but the AFC East club has already reached out to other teams, according to one NFL analyst. A trade would suit the player, who is getting grips with a different role under a new coaching staff, but he yearns to play like Pitts.

Dolphins TE a Natural Fit for Falcons

Mike Gesicki tallied 780 yards last season, but that hasn’t stopped the Dolphins mentioning his “name to other teams, per Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. Kyed noted how “the Dolphins, of course, would not cut Gesicki, who’s playing on a fully guaranteed franchise tag this season, but a trade isn’t out of the question.”

Any chance of a deal ought to interest Smith and Falcons’ general manager Terry Fontenot. They could use Gesicki in tandem with Pitts to field arguably the best one-two punch at tight end in the NFL. The duo would surely offset any concerns about the quality of Atlanta’s wide receivers aside from London, a group currently headlined by Bryan Edwards and Damiere Byrd.

Significantly, Gesicki’s comfort playing a role similar to Pitts could smooth the way in any possible trade talks between the two franchises. Kyed revealed some potential teething problems for Gesicki in the offense run by new head coach Mike McDaniel: “Gesicki has admitted he’s learning a new position this season. He previously was a big receiver. Now he’s a tight end, and in new head coach Mike McDaniel’s offense, he’ll be expected to block.”

A tight end who wants to play like a “big receiver?” Welcome to Atlanta, where Pitts occupies that exact role, something he showcased against the New York Jets in Week 2 of the preseason:

Pitts is going to be the focal point for every defense on the Falcons’ schedule. Those units would face an even tougher task if they also had to worry about Gesicki, who could stack with Pitts in the slot or line up outside him on the perimeter.

The Dolphins weren’t afraid to move Gesicki around formations in 2021. He was flexed into the slot for this jaw-dropping, one-handed catch against the Houston Texans in Week 9:

Circus catches are a common occurrence for Gesicki, who has averaged 11.1 yards per grab since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2018. He’s also established a niche in the red zone, catching 13 touchdowns in the last three seasons, although only two of those scores came in 2021.

His struggle to be factor in a system designed by former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator McDaniel has been a recurring theme this offseason. Early production does not bode well, per the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad, who detailed Gesicki’s failure to make an impact against the Las Vegas Raiders recently:

The Falcons have more than a few incentives to offer Gesicki a role better suited to his particular set of skills.

Falcons Have Resources to Make a Trade Happen

One of the more obvious reasons the Falcons should pursue this trade is because they can. Gesicki is set to earn $10,931,000 playing on the franchise tag this season, according to The same source credits the Falcons with $10,352,947 worth of space under the salary cap. It’s not going to take much wheeling and dealing from Fontenot to clear enough room for Gesicki.

One way the Falcons could do it is to offer the Dolphins their own viable trade candidate. Deion Jones is back at training camp and off the PUP list, per Kelly Price of Fox 5 Sports:

The inside linebacker has long been mooted as somebody the Falcons would trade because he carries a cap hit worth $20,018,431 this year. Jones is one of the few holdovers from when the Falcons reached Super Bowl LI following the 2016 season, and while his skills may have diminished, he could help a Dolphins’ linebacker corps “that doesn’t have a star,” according to Daniel Oyefusi of the Miami Herald.

Swapping Jones for Gesicki would be a boost for Falcons quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder. Veteran Mariota is the projected starter, and he enjoyed the best seasons of his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2016 and ’17, throwing to tight ends Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith and Anthony Fasano.

Mariota is attempting to revive his career in Atlanta, but he may only be keeping the job warm for third-round pick Ridder, who has impressed this preseason, per Next Gen Stats:

If Ridder progresses as expected, the Falcons won’t need to draft a quarterback a year from now. They’ll only need to ensure Ridder has enough weapons to help him thrive.

Pairing Gesicki with Pitts would guarantee Ridder is well stocked, as well as create schematic puzzles few defenses could solve.